Color checker passport question

changedsoulchangedsoul Big grinsRegistered Users Posts: 13 Big grins
edited January 6, 2013 in Technique
Ok, so I spent some money and got myself one of them color checkers so I can make custom profiles for my camera. So my question is how to use this.
I know you are to place the color checker in the scene that you area shooting for one of the shots, then use that to adjust colors and such after in light room. But what if I am outside doing scenery and don't want to place this in every scene I take a picture.

What I thought I could do is just stand in the lighting most of my scenes are in, sun light for example, and just hold this thing up in front of my camera filling the view finder and snap a shot. Then go back in profile creator later after my shots and create a profile for that days shooting in sun light.

I guess my question is this: is it ok to just hold it up in front of the camera filling the view?

Comments

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,601 moderator
    edited December 11, 2012
    The Passport is quite handy to carry and use for color balance. It offers a neutral greycard for custom white balance in the camera, a standard Color Checker array of colors, and a Color checker array that offers warming and cooling neutral greys to white balance off of in Lightroom or Photoshop.

    You can see an interactive training video at www.xritephoto.com/Passport/Trainingvideo.

    Yes, you can just capture an image of the Passport in the lighting you are going to be shooting in. In the training video, they actually held it below the model's chin, so it does not have to cover the entire sensor to create a custom profile.

    I have not created custom camera profiles, but just use the grey card and the warming and cooling cards for editing as needed.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • arodneyarodney Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,005 Major grins
    edited December 11, 2012
    In terms of making custom profiles for your camera, you probably only need a few. Daylight+tungsten if you want dual illuminant, Fluorescent, anything else with an odd spectra (metal halide). You don't have to make one for each scene. The ColorChecker is a nice visual reference which can be real handy to have for each capture IF time permits. Making a profile from each? Not necessary.
    Andrew Rodney
    Author "Color Management for Photographers"
    http://www.digitaldog.net/
  • changedsoulchangedsoul Big grins Registered Users Posts: 13 Big grins
    edited December 19, 2012
    Thank you for your tips. I actually got a color checker chart but found it a bit bulky and returned it and got the passport which I really like. And so now I'm on this trying to create a custom profile for each time I go use my camera. Not because I have too but because its fun and I'm learning. Trying to see which lighting gives me the best results ect, but I came up against a issue I was hoping someone here might be able to help with.

    So armed with my new passport and now recently asked to take some pictures of my company party, I was excited to snap a shot of the passport and then correct the colors of all the shots I took later when I got home. Problem was, when I got to where the party was, it was almost a club setting with multiple colored lights cycling through many different colors.

    I was stumped at how to proceed so I gave up and just set camera on auto and used built in flash.

    So in a situation like this where there are multiple cycling colored lights, am I correct to say there is no way to correct color?

    As a example, one of the colors was blue, so when the blue light cycled in, the room was blue. Well my auto wb would mistake that and try to even everything out and give me a red picture right? And using the passport would not work because if the room was blue, the colors would not be correct and a custom profile to adjust the colors would give a picture not how it really was, correct?

    How would your approach a situation like this?
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,601 moderator
    edited December 20, 2012
    With cycling colored spot lighting, or cycling fluorescent lighting, simple color balancing is nigh on impossible.

    With 60 cycle fluorescent lighting, a shutter speed slow enough to capture an entire lighting cycle will work, but may be slower than desired in a sporting event 1/60 or slower.

    With the slowly revolving color lighting you described you COULD use a shutter speed of 5, 10 or 30 seconds to capture all the colors and then create a custom white balance for that shutter speed, but that won't work for anything that is moving of course. Or one just shoots AWB and RAW, and leaves the color in the scene as captured, OR alters it to suit later in Photoshop or LR.

    Or one decides to render the images in monochrome B&W which can work well sometimes, depending on the venue.

    If folks are expecting studio quality color balanced images in the environment you describe, then they are confused about the capabilities of modern digital photography.

    Why would one expect perfect color rendering when what one sees with their own eyes is nowhere near correct color balance, but theatrical lighting?

    In the final analysis, the correct color balance is that color balance that the shooter decides works best for their images, image by image. It is ultimately an artistic choice, unless one is conducting a photographic archive as for a museum collection or art collection, where one needs to accurately match the colors of the subject. But archival photography is done under very closely managed lighting, for obvious reasons.

    in short, AWB and Raw are your friend, or render them later in B&W.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • arodneyarodney Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,005 Major grins
    edited December 20, 2012
    This is a lighting situation you'll have to handle manually depending on what light is on and how you want the image to appear. IOW, a DNG custom profile isn't going to do much here.
    Andrew Rodney
    Author "Color Management for Photographers"
    http://www.digitaldog.net/
  • changedsoulchangedsoul Big grins Registered Users Posts: 13 Big grins
    edited December 20, 2012
    Thank you, that's what I was expecting. Looking at the after shots using full auto and flash on the camera, they seem fine. It's only a small company Christmas party, nothing requiring high quality pictures. Just some picture to capture the occasion. I just thought I could play around with the passport during this, but found I could not. Anyways, thanks for all your help.
  • changedsoulchangedsoul Big grins Registered Users Posts: 13 Big grins
    edited January 6, 2013
    Hi again, I had another question regarding the passport and custom profiles. I found if I am trying to generate a sunny day color profile, when I hold up the passport and allow the camera to auto exposure it, I find the white is always blown out. I have to under expose almost 2ev to get the white to not blow out.

    My question is if the color passport reference shot that will be used to create the profile had to be taken with a -2ev, will that effect anything in the remaining shots when I create and apply the profile? Or because of the way the passport is, exposing so there are no blown highlights, no matter if my camera says -2ev, it's a properly exposed image?
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,326 moderator
    edited January 6, 2013
    Hi again, I had another question regarding the passport and custom profiles. I found if I am trying to generate a sunny day color profile, when I hold up the passport and allow the camera to auto exposure it, I find the white is always blown out. I have to under expose almost 2ev to get the white to not blow out.

    My question is if the color passport reference shot that will be used to create the profile had to be taken with a -2ev, will that effect anything in the remaining shots when I create and apply the profile? Or because of the way the passport is, exposing so there are no blown highlights, no matter if my camera says -2ev, it's a properly exposed image?

    I don't believe that the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport is designed to assist exposure, just color management.

    I use an 18 percent gray card and spot metering to evaluate for ambient exposure. Then it's important to remember the "expose to the right"* rule for digital photography. Finally, you only need to capture "relevant" highlight detail. Sometimes it's perfectly OK to allow non-relevant highlights to clip.

    *http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/digital-exposure-techniques.htm
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • changedsoulchangedsoul Big grins Registered Users Posts: 13 Big grins
    edited January 6, 2013
    I wasn't trying to use the passport as a way to get correct exposure. I was and still am confused a bit though. What I was trying to ask, and I hope I can explain this better, is how the exposure could effect the color profile created.

    For example. If I took a picture of the color passport and the image was too dark. Nothing clipped on the shadows, but just to dark. The darker image would in a sense seem like the colors are more saturated right? So I now take this DNG file into the profile creator from adobe and create a profile. Would this profile from a darker image skew the color correction it's supposed to provide?

    Putting in other terms, would two profiles generated from opposite ends, one just below clipping highlights and one just above loss in shadows, generate the same color corrected profile?
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,326 moderator
    edited January 6, 2013
    ... when I hold up the passport and allow the camera to auto exposure it, I find the white is always blown out. I have to under expose almost 2ev to get the white to not blow out. ...
    I wasn't trying to use the passport as a way to get correct exposure. I was and still am confused a bit though. What I was trying to ask, and I hope I can explain this better, is how the exposure could effect the color profile created.

    For example. If I took a picture of the color passport and the image was too dark. Nothing clipped on the shadows, but just to dark. The darker image would in a sense seem like the colors are more saturated right? So I now take this DNG file into the profile creator from adobe and create a profile. Would this profile from a darker image skew the color correction it's supposed to provide?

    Putting in other terms, would two profiles generated from opposite ends, one just below clipping highlights and one just above loss in shadows, generate the same color corrected profile?

    From the user manual for the ColorChecker Passport,

    "Exposure. The ColorChecker Classic should be properly exposed in the image. If color channels are clipped you will not be able to make a profile with the image." (Emphasis mine.)

    My recommendation is to use whatever exposure controls you have available to keep the color target from clipping.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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